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Uncle’s shop taught Judy Diogo about life and work

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Judy Diogo

Judy Diogo

Judy Diogo has been  for 12 years and is a lifelong Delaware resident.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Houston, Del., until I was probably 9 years old and moved to Milford.

First job?
I was probably about 13 years old, and I worked at my uncle’s convenience store. He had a little convenience corner market (Diogo’s Market) in Houston, Del. I did that for two years actually, and then when I turned 15, I worked for another convenience store.

I mopped the floors, cleaned the bathroom, stocked the shelves and pumped the gas. I did that on the weekends. When I was 14, I got promoted from stocking shelves and they taught me how to make sandwiches. I can still make a very mean submarine. My uncle provided all of us with jobs. Everything I learned at my uncle’s store I took with me.

How much did you earn?
I think he gave me something like $2 an hour. I did like it because it was kind of neat – felt like I was already grown up. I was learning to do something that was outside of cleaning my room and helping my mother with housework.

What did you like about it and what were some of the lessons?
I enjoyed meeting the different people that came in to the store and I learned a lot about worth and value. My uncle had expectations. You had to be willing to work hard – pay attention to detail, you couldn’t stop work until the job was done. I think my mother and father really instilled that – you have got to do the job to the best of your ability.

I also learned that the customer is always right.

(Later, Diogo went to work for Paul and Euguene Mills of Mills Brothers Market where she ran the register, made sandwiches and stocked the shelves for three years. She worked at Mills Brothers until graduation.)

When you look back, what’s the value of that particular first job at that particular time?
I think working in my uncle’s store taught me that having a job is something you don’t take for granted. Having the ability to make your own money gives you self-worth and pride. I think your first job helps you develop your work ethic.

What would be your advice to the new generation of teens at their first job?
Always give 110 percent. Always do your job to the best of your ability because no matter what you may think – it matters!   

What do you know now that you wish you’d known then?
I wish I had known it was the place that would shape my work journey – my work ethic, my understanding of money, my understanding of how great it was to have the privilege to work!

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